NOTE: If hosting a CAC worker, make sure NOT to livestream your service or their videos UNLESS you’re using a private IP address or posting to a private YouTube channel that is NOT indexed by search engines.
Make Virtual Missions Conferences Interesting
You may be worried about not having an in-person speaker for people to engage with, and (if we’re honest), not everyone is a particularly engaging in-person, let alone on video or long distance. Here’s the key: Their sweet spot is engaging in the culture they’ve been sent to rather than trying to relate it to Americans who probably don’t have a box for the sort of stuff they are working with. Of course, let them share what they want/need to, but also give them assignments to let them shine in their sweet spot and create a shared experience with Americans.
Ideas for Videos from Workers
- Ask the international worker to film a friend in the culture preparing a meal (maybe toward the end of the meal preparation so it’s not such a long video) and explain what the food is. The international worker can easily explain they are filming so their family can see what life is like in this country.
- Ask them video what their version of a grocery store looks like and feature some common food items/snacks.
- Ask them to take you on a tour of their home. What makes it different than the home they had in America?
- What does the money look like there? How much does the food cost (McDonald’s, ground beef, cereal, soda pop)?
- What are they looking forward to and why? What have they been encouraged by?
- Ask them to show how COVID has affected their daily life in that country. How did they adapt ministry? What have they learned as a result of this season?
- Ask them to do a mini language lesson and teach a simple song – yes, even to the adults!
- Ask their family to present a fashion show of what people where in their culture – and why (weather, religion, culture, economic reasons).
- Ask them to share cultural and language blunders or other moments they found funny.
- Ask them if they can receive care packages (it’s always an interesting story if they can’t); what do they LOVE to get in those packages and why? Take notes and act on what you learn!
- How are birthdays celebrated in their culture?
- What holidays are popular there and how are they celebrated?
- What have you learned about God while being in another culture?
- What have you learned about yourself while being in another culture?
- What have you learned about people while being in another culture?
Be kind: Request pre-recorded video so they don’t have to get up in the middle of the night due to the time difference. There is usually 6-10 hours difference, which makes evening events difficult for our workers. If they insist on being available live, then go for it; but otherwise, please be considerate of the time difference!
More Virtual Strategies for Missions Conferences
Read and Respond
Have everyone read the prayer newsletter and challenge them to respond to the worker after they have prayed for them.
Personal fundraisers for the GCF
Encourage people to babysit, sell a pie-a-month, organize closets, hire themselves out for handyman jobs, or do a physical challenge to raise awareness and funds for the GCF. Have them post their activities and progress on your church Facebook page. See how creative your congregants can get!
Virtual cards (via Google forms)
Gather notes of encouragement or verses you are praying for a missionary family via a Google form in lieu of passing around a physical card for everyone to sign. This will include those who can’t be at a missions conference in person and is more sanitary for those who are there in person.
Flat Stanley idea
International workers are often visited by “Flat Stanley”, a character from the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. In this book, Stanley is flattened when his bulletin board falls on him while he is sleeping. He takes the opportunity to go on many exciting adventures because he is only a half-inch thick. Classrooms across America make their own “Flat Stanley” and see how far around the world a postage stamp will take him. Why not take the international workers on a similar adventure within your church family? Create flat versions of the family members with their prayer requests on the back, and then take them around your church for a week, taking pictures with them.
International Meals & Snacks
If you can reproduce the meals/snacks featured by the international worker, have them available to your church members. You can at least offer the recipes and have families post pictures of them preparing the meal on your Facebook page, if they “nailed it”, and what their reactions to the food were.
Zoom Rooms Ideas
- Prayer groups
- Small groups
- Pursuing the call – those who feel called to missions
- Kids Korner – what does your culture look like to the kids? Teach them a simple song in your language. Can you replicate a popular snack (fun to see the facial responses as kids try the snack)?
- A cooking class using cultural recipes
- Culture awareness study of the country the international workers serve in (make it a show and tell format)
- Meet with the ministry strategists in your church (How did the international worker identify ministry strategy in their context? How can they help you identify some ideas in your context?)